Friday, August 1, 2008

Virginia: Kaine and Commutations

The Wall Street Journal has an article on Virginia Governor Tim Kaine which relates the manner in which former state Attorney General Jerry W. Kilgore attempted to paint Kaine as a "liberal who would be soft on crime."

... Mr. Kaine was an inviting target: He represented two death-row inmates as a young lawyer; opposed the death penalty on religious grounds, as a Roman Catholic; and had called in 2001 for a moratorium on executions to reexamine sentencing disparities, limits on introducing evidence and other concerns.

Mr. Kilgore claimed Mr. Kaine would commute all death sentences if elected. The turning point came after a Kilgore television ad suggested Mr. Kaine would be so lenient that he might have commuted a sentence for Adolf Hitler.

The tactic backfired. Newspaper editorials excoriated the Kilgore campaign for going too far. Mr. Kaine took the offensive, aggressively highlighting his religious faith and pledging he would do nothing to obstruct executions.

"People want to know what your motivation is. For me, it's my faith," Gov. Kaine said recently. "That was strengthened in my experience in Honduras. I just want to serve people. I know it sounds like a simple cliché" ...

See full Wall Steet Journal article here.

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